The creators of rap dictionary site Rap Genius have been dogged with allegations of racism and making a mockery of the very culture they claim to respect. It appeared that the crew of founders Mahbod Moghadam, Ilan Zechory (along with site architect Tom Lehman) were nothing but a bunch of deeply invested rap nerds masquerading as racist chumps hiding behind the glare of their keyboards, thanks to the dime dropped by Byron Crawford.
The Rap Genius crew bravely faced the music on The Combat Jack Show podcast this week to clear the air on that and other matters–even addressing the “beef” with co-host Dallas Penn.
Walking into hostile territory, Moghadam and Zechory explain their site's innovative concept but not before host Combat Jack offered an anecdote that his son referred to Rap Genius as the “Hip-Hop site for White people.” The site's annotated lyrics – which is supplanted with a “crowdsourcing” concept of having clickable lines that explain rap bars by way of a nifty pop-up – has reportedly gained the guys a $15 million dollar investment from venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz. Without a doubt, it's one of the Internet's most popular go-to destinations.
Lehman, aka the “swagged out Mark Zuckerberg of Rap Genius” (according to his partners), created the site after a reefer-fueled brainstorming session and allegedly listening to Cam'Ron tracks. Moghadam explained that Lehman built the site as a form of therapy for his friend after he explained his love of Killa Cam lyrics, thus forming the popular layout used today.
Penn got to the bottom of the issues between him and the lyric geeks after detailing that a hazy cipher including Moghadam, Zechory, Action Bronson affiliate Meyhem Lauren, and Penn got weird after one of the Rap Genius dudes thought Lauren was Smoke DZA. Moghadam also mistakenly thought Penn was a rapper.
Penn dug in a bit but calling the dudes a few choice names (the term “f---ybergs” was especially biting) but seemed to have little issue with the website's aims, which co-host Just Blaze also agreed with. Instead, the aforementioned Crawford investigation spun way out of control, which the fun-loving and goofy pair of Moghadam and Zechory said they had nothing to do with.
Check out the Rap Genius vs. Dallas Penn episode of The Combat Jack Show. Jump to the 1:10:00 mark to get to the mock-meat. [||]
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Photo: The Combat Jack Show